Wonder how my forecasts for 2012 worked out? So do I, but because of the short weeks due to the holidays and my attendance at the Florida United Numismatists Show, my annual confessional will have to wait until next week.
Instead, I could pick on the Mint or the American Numismatic Association, but I won’t do either.
I would much rather do something positive. I would like to offer my congratulations to Jeff Young for having the perseverance to hunt down and discover the first reported 1983-D Lincoln cent struck on a 95-percent copper planchet. It has taken 30 years for one to finally turn up. Others could still be out there.
Armed with an electronic scale that quickly reveals the weight of the cents placed on it, Young sorted through huge quantities of cents over many years to be able to claim victory.
Even though the coin could bring $15,000 or more if sold, I am wondering if any dollar amount could reward any circulation finds practitioner for the many hours of searching.
I remember when I was active. It was an activity that I enjoyed. I stopped when I sensed there was little reward left in coins in circulation.
I am glad to see a new generation of collectors proving that the door has not been permanently closed on finding important coins in circulation.
Back in my day at the end of the circulation finds era in the mid-to-late 1960s, no coin that was findable had a value of $15,000.
I was working for pennies: silver coins with small markups over face value, or mintmarked Jefferson nickels worth a small premium, like the 1939-D. I never found a 1950-D. And all the dateless Buffalo nickels that I encountered? Well, they earned me nothing but fond memories.
Cents for my entire hobby career, which has now reached the 50-year mark, were a wasteland. The most exciting coin I found among cents was a 1955-S, though that was more through personal interest in the closure of the San Francisco Mint that year than a careful evaluation of the coin compared to the few mintmarked cents that I found from the Teens and the Twenties.
I expect what motivated all of us who have ever searched through circulating coins was the immense satisfaction derived from examining so many coins, learning how they wore to master grading and simply to be in contact with the raw material of coin collecting.
Then there is the dream. There is that dream of finding something that everybody else would stand up and take notice of. That is a strong motivator.
I failed, but it was a failure that still made me happy. Young has succeeded. I am delighted to be able to turn the spotlight on him in the form of the Ken Potter story on Page 1.
Young has succeeded in fulfilling the fondest dream of most collectors. Knowing that this just happened gives me high hopes for 21st century numismatics.